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Gestures are unique to chat software. Gestures consist of either a regular graphic in .gif format, or an animated graphic in .gif format. The graphic is accompanied by a short sound file in .wav format. In other words, gestures are small pictures or animations, sometimes accompanied by a sound that can be sent along with text while you are signed in. Gestures can add a bit of color and flair to the somewhat dry emoticon :-) Imagine if that smiley face winked at you and giggled! The challenge of chat is to make the communication as real and meaningful to the participants as possible. Sometimes, it is difficult to ascertain the actual meaning of plain text. Chatters, unless they are using voice or live chat, cannot see the people that they chat with. Emoticons and Gestures enhance the environment by adding images and sounds to a text based environment. These devices act almost as punctuation! They add emphasis and help discern the meaning or intention of the text it follows.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|